You've just arrived at your vacation destination and all you want to do is relax. Instead, you're bombarded with service personnel and feeling stressed because you're not sure how much to tip. If this sounds all too familiar, you're not alone. ConsumerSearch has created a vacation tipping guide to take the guesswork out of domestic tipping etiquette, and help your trip go as smoothly as possible.
While tipping is often voluntary and at your discretion, here are some guidelines so you can properly show your gratitude to those who deserve it.
Airports and train stations
Baggage personnel/porters: The standard tipping rate for porters is $1-$2 per bag. You should tip a bit more if your bags are very heavy or if they need to be carried a long distance.
Wheelchair attendants: Judy Mandell of AARP.org says to consider the level of service when tipping. If the attendant transports the passenger from check-in to the gate, a $5-$10 tip is customary. If the attendant is also responsible for handling bags, or remains with the passenger for an extended length of time (during a flight delay, for example), Mandell says $10-$20 is more appropriate.
According to the editors of TravelSense.org, 10-15% of the total fare is appropriate in most parts of the U.S. If you take a shared shuttle bus or van, tip the driver $2 per person.
Tipping at hotels
Parking valet: $2 per service.
Doorman: $1-$2 each time he hails a taxi for you.
Bell men: $1-$2 per bag in a standard hotel, and $5 per bag in a luxury hotel.
Concierge: A hotel concierge may perform an array of tasks. Most sites say to tip $5 for a simple request, such as a dinner reservation, and $10 for more difficult feats.
Housekeeping: Standards vary, but experts say the maid should receive approximately $2 per day. You should factor the quality of the hotel and the cleanliness of your room into your decision. If you request that a specific item be brought to your room, such as a hairdryer or extra towel, tip $2 per item.
Room Service: If you order room service, it's expected that you tip the delivery person 10-15% of the pre-tax bill (unless gratuity is already included).
Spa services: Normally, a masseuse, manicurist or hairstylist receives a 15% tip (if a gratuity charge isn't included in your bill).
Poolside/beachside attendant: $2-$5 per service (i.e., retrieving beach towels, lounge chairs, umbrellas).
Tipping on tours
According to CNNMoney, you should tip the guide and driver anywhere from 10-20% of the total cost of the tour. If you are on an extended tour, many operators suggest $3-$8 per person per day for the guide and $2 per day for the driver.
Tipping on a cruise ship
Each cruise line has its own set of tipping policies. Some lines recently began adding service charges to guests' accounts automatically, while others adhere to a non-tipping policy (meaning gratuities have already been factored into the overall cost). To avoid confusion, contact your cruise operator to determine what their tipping policy is. If you are advised to tip at your discretion, here are some general rules:
Note: The cabin steward and butler, the dining room waiters, and assistant and headwaiters are usually given their tips the last night of the cruise. Baggage handlers and room service stewards can be paid at the time of service.
Baggage handlers: $2 per bag.
Cabin stewards and butlers: $3.50 per person/per day.
Room service stewards: $2 per visit.
Dining room waiters: $3.50 per person/per day.
Dining room assistant waiters and bus staff: $2.00 per person/per day.
Maitre d' and headwaiter: You may wonder whether or not to tip the maitre d' or the headwaiter. CruiseCritic.com says it is not necessary to tip the maitre d' unless they rearrange seating to accommodate you. However, CruiseCritic.com recommends tipping the headwaiter $1 per person/per night (as most of his work is done behind the scenes).
Keep in mind that these tipping guidelines only apply to domestic travel within the U.S. International tipping customs vary drastically from country to country. If you plan on visiting a foreign country, familiarize yourself with the customs of that particular region.
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